Getting back to Elsie

Extra rubber arrived earlier this week, so I was able to top off the first side of Elsie’s mold. It took a total of 8 lbs. of rubber to do this one side. I wanted to pour the side pretty deep because I was spanning a fair distance (11″ inches across) and I wanted to be sure there wasn’t any flex to the mold. In this picture, I’ve embedded beads to make keys for the plaster support that will reinforce this side.

With the plaster poured and the mold board removed, this is what I have. The bottom is the wooden shelf piece that I used to build up the clay around Elsie. The next layer is the plastalina clay that was used to block off the area. After that is the first rubber side piece, and finally the plaster reinforcement.

You can see to the left what a steep drop her turned head (just barely visible in the left hand corner) creates. That kind of abrupt change will not work for a plaster mold, but the purpose of this mold isn’t to make a plaster mold – at least not yet. At this point my goal is simply to get a rubber Elsie.

The top two pieces (rubber and plaster) make one major side of the mold. My next task will be to block off the inner pieces with clay and pour the second side piece.

In this photo I have peeled off the wooden base that was used to build up the clay. Because I was concerned about weight, I used tin foil to fill the inner area and then added the clay. Even so, I ended up using almost 5 lbs. of plastalina. (The entire assembly in the first picture weighed close to 24 lbs.)

I should add that I have set the mold piece down on a towel because the plaster support is still quite damp. Until it truly dries, a good blow on a hard surface can fracture it. The towel is a softer surface, but mostly it serves to remind me to set the mold down carefully!

One of the side benefits of using the foil was that the original was much cleaner than usual, since very little clay was actually touching the resin surface.

In fact, it peeled off in one long piece, leaving behind a fairly clean original.

There is a little bit of clean-up to get her ready for the shaping of the inner pieces, but using the foil was a great time-saver in addition to minimizing the weight.

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2 Responses to Getting back to Elsie

  1. Becky Turner September 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    I love the foil idea! one thing I hate about doing the clay up is removing the clay once the rubber is cured on side one… now why didn’t I think of this!? lol thanks for the big time saving tip! yea I bet that is one heavy mold! i know when I did the rubber waste mold for the whistle-jacket ( and I will get it done soon!) it weighs a ton and thats without the shell mold on it.. ( its not plaster but a resin type stuff thats lighter than fiberglass. I hope you show the rubber casting! and she will be gorgeous in earthenware too.. wish I coudl afford one!
    Rebecca Turner

  2. Lesli Kathman September 23, 2010 at 11:33 pm #

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates cleaning that clay off! I will post what I did with her inside areas separately, because I was so happy with the foil that I decided to try something on her belly.

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